Is Swingball Dangerous? (5 Possible Dangers of Playing the Game)

Steve in smart shirt and jeans

They say don’t judge a book by its cover. 

This is also certainly true for swingball or tetherball. 

A swingball set looks so innocent. 

But it could be dangerous, too, if you’re not too careful. 

Let’s discuss the dangers of playing swingball. 

Swingball is like a less intense game of tennis that you can play in your backyard. But less intense doesn’t mean less dangerous. One could hit their opponent with the racquet or bat if they’re not careful. At least it’s made of plastic, but that won’t make it any less painful, especially if there is a lot of force behind the hit. Parents playing against children should be attentive as the height difference could leave the children with busted heads from a stray racquet.

What Is Swingball?

In case there are people still living under a rock who have no idea what a swingball is, it is a game where two people try to hit a ball tethered to a pole with their racquet or bat. 

The goal is to be the person to get the ball at the top or bottom of the spiral. 

It is also called tetherball or tether tennis for obvious reasons, and is sometimes referred to as totem tennis. 

It is similar to tennis except you can play it in your backyard. 

People enjoy it because it seems like a less intense tennis game. 

It is a great exercise too. 

You can lose around 135 calories in just 30 minutes of playing swingball. 

Finally, it’s fun!

You can bond with a friend, your significant other, a parent, a sibling, or a child. 

You can even play swingball solo!

Now, to the main question: Is swingball dangerous?

The Risks of Playing Swingball

Tennis ball spinning

Swingball is not dangerous per se. 

It’s not a game that you should warn people against playing. 

But just like with any other sport, there are situations that could lead to injuries. 

Swingball is not dangerous but it could be. 

Here are some potential situations that could lead to swingball-related injuries. 

1. Accidental Hit

Sometimes, in swingball, when you are not paying attention, you could get whacked in various parts of the body with the racquet, which is often called the swingball bat. 

It is quite common because you don’t really need a large playing area to have a game of swingball. 

You could easily run into each other even when you are supposed to hit the ball in different directions. 

The worst situations usually involve a parent and a child playing swingball. 

Because of the height difference, the parent could accidentally whack their child in the head. 

The upside is that swingball bats are made of plastic. 

It doesn’t make it any less dangerous especially when the game has become so intense that the player has put a lot of force into the swing. 

At least it’s not as hard as tennis racquets, which have frames that are either graphite, aluminum, or boron. 

Check out this Reddit thread that showcased how some people got injured or caused the injury of others while playing swingball:

“My family has only been playing swingball for 10 minutes, yet there have already been 3 swingball-related injuries and nobody is entirely sure of the rules.”

“My first-ever trip to A&E was a swingball-related injury. Received a bat to the face…”

“Not as bad as one time I was playing swing ball with an 8-year-old and smacked a 5-year-old in the head with the ball.”

Depending on how bad the hit was, you can ice the pain or visit the emergency room for the worst scenarios. 

2. Dislocated Elbow

A dislocated elbow is common in sports. 

Sports activities account for about half of elbow dislocation cases. 

They are most common in contact sports like American football and wrestling where athletes could fall while their hands are outstretched. 

It could also happen in sports where a swinging motion happens like tennis, golf, and even swingball. 

It happens when any of the three bones that connect the elbow joint is pushed out of place. 

When you dislocate your elbow, do not try to push the bone back in place. 

Go to the emergency room right away. 

3. Upper Body Strain

Swingball is great for your upper body strength. 

While it is a game that moves almost all parts of your body, the upper body has a lot more to do. 

Playing swingball for the first time could strain your upper body. 

It could also happen even if you have been playing swingball regularly but you suddenly found yourself playing a more competitive game with another opponent. 

Muscle happens when you stretch or tear your muscle because you have used it beyond its limit. 

When muscle strain happens, you just need to rest. 

You can also ice the area to reduce swelling. 

Try to prevent extraneous activities while you’re still trying to heal. 

It could take a week or two, sometimes more, for the muscle to heal, depending on how bad the injury was. 

4. Sprained Ankle

Generally, swingball is an easy game. 

You really don’t need to use your legs too much when playing swingball. 

But a sprained ankle could still happen, especially when you are playing on uneven ground. 

The injury happens when you roll or twist your ankle in an awkward manner. 

It’s quite painful and the ankle may have swelling. 

You might not be able to walk properly for weeks. 

Ice your sprained ankle and make sure you get off your bad foot to prevent exacerbating the injury. 

5. Shoulder Injury

You use your shoulder (singular) a lot when playing swingball. 

One shoulder is always going to be more overused than the other. 

Overusing your shoulder could weaken your rotator cuff muscles. 

The rotator cuff is the muscle responsible for keeping your shoulders in the sockets. 

Weakened muscles in the shoulder area could irritate the tissues and lead to inflammation and pain. 

A shoulder injury means you can’t move your arm because the shoulder hurts too much. 

Icing the shoulder might help but you would also need to rest to allow the muscles to heal. 

How To Prevent Swingball Injuries

Elderly man having a knee injury

Nobody wants to be injured. 

Make sure you practice extra precautions when playing swingball so you don’t have to be sidelined with an injury. 

Here are some best practices to prevent any swingball injury. 


Warmup is very important. 

You do it before any exercise and you must do it before playing swingball or any other sports. 

Prepare the body parts that will be overused during the game, such as your shoulders, arms, and legs. 

Be Attentive

Be aware of where your opponent is at all times so you don’t accidentally hit them. 

At the same time, you don’t want them to accidentally hurt you. 

Be attentive to the ball, too, as it could hit your head. 

Make Sure the Ground Is Even

Don’t play on uneven ground as it may be the reason you fall or sprain your ankle. 

If the ground is uneven and you can’t do anything about it, just be hyper-aware of your movement and be conscious when you walk or run around. 

Wear an Appropriate Outfit

Outfit is not always about fashion; it can be about safety too. 

Wearing tight-fitting clothes could prevent natural movements from you while playing swingball and may cause you to strain your muscles more. 

Wear the right shoes, too, and make sure they are the perfect fit. 

Practice Regularly

Practice your swing, leg movements, and balance before challenging an opponent to a game of swingball. 

The good thing about swingball is you can perfectly use the equipment to practice by yourself. 

By doing so, you are preparing your body for when you have a more intense game of swingball with an opponent. 

More importantly, you are developing muscle strength and flexibility. 

Final Thoughts

INFOGRAPHIC Answering the Question Is Swingball Dangerous
Click infographic to enlarge.

Any sport can be dangerous. 

Even a seemingly harmless game of swingball could lead to injuries. 

But knowledge is power. 

Knowing that swingball could lead to injuries, such as a dislocated elbow, shoulder and muscle strain, and an ankle sprain, will help you be more careful. 

Warming up before the game and practicing swingball regularly could help prepare your body for an intense game of swingball. 

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